Partnerships at work:
Technology Commercialization

The following case studies detail ways in which we worked with technology developers to commercialize products and create energy savings in Wisconsin.


Boiler Airflow Optimization: Paprican

CleanTech Partners secured the services of Paprican Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada to conduct onsite boiler optimization studies using its patented technology. Paprican’s boiler services optimize combustion air distribution, boiler temperature profiles and firing parameters in power and recovery boilers, yielding improved performance, efficiency and output.

In recognition of this project’s potential, Focus on Energy offered a $10,000 rebate to each of the first five participating facilities, regardless of the study’s outcome.

Paprican is the world’s leading pulp and paper research and technology institute. Its mission is to enhance the technical competitiveness of its member companies through research and educational activities.

Ethanol Production Efficiency: Lucigen Corporation
CleanTech Partners provided $350,000 in equity funding to the Lucigen Corporation in early 2005 for work on the development of enzymes that can improve the energy efficiency of bioethanol production and other similar processes. CTP’s investment helped Lucigen further develop and test its enzymes in full-scale plant and served as match funding for federal grants.

Located in Middleton Wisconsin, Lucigen’s core expertise and business is discovering, developing and marketing novel enzymes and enzyme-related products of high commercial value. Lucigen invented the ultra efficient DNA cloning technologies (patents pending) that are incorporated into its CloneSmart™ gene cloning and genomics products, NanoClone™ cloning services, and Single Cell Genomics technology for new product discovery. The company sells more than 50 different biomedical research products and services. It has already been awarded $5 million in competitive Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and the US Department of Energy.

Black Liquor Gasification: ThermoChem Recovery International, Inc.
CleanTech Partners has been working with ThermoChem Recovery International, Inc. (TRI) since 2004 to bring black liquor gasification (BLG) technology to Wisconsin’s pulp and paper industry, providing a variety of advisory services as well as in excess of $200,000 in funding of feasibility studies at Wisconsin pulp mills. Black Liquor Gasification (BLG) is a revolutionary approach to the conversion of organic wastes to hydrogen-rich gas for use in power generation and the production of bio-based fuels. Each installation could save an average sized pulp mill 200 million kWh annually. Located in Baltimore Maryland, TRI has developed BLG technology into an environmentally advanced energy and chemical recovery system for the pulp and paper industry. It has already built two plants that are operating commercially and generating significant energy savings: one at Norampac - Trenton, Ontario, Canada and the other at Georgia-Pacific Corporation - Big Island, Virginia.

Metal Heat-Treating Efficiencies: Spinworks LLC
CleanTech Partners provided $350,000 to  Spinworks LLC to help it expand the marketing of its innovative SpyroCor product into Wisconsin. SpyroCor is a patented, high tech ceramic (silicon-graphite) insert for gas-fired radiant tube heaters used in metal heat-treating furnaces that reduce the energy demands of the process by 10% to 20%. CTP’s funding was used to employ a Wisconsin sales representative, and to help Spinworks expand its business and product offerings. As CTP and Spinworks completed the investment transaction, Spinworks initiated its activity in Wisconsin resulting in the first Wisconsin installation on June 13, 2005 at Treat All Metals, Inc. CTP estimates that the use of Spyrocors at the 15 to-date locations in Wisconsin is saving nearly $500,000 of natural gas each year.

Spinworks, founded in 2001 in Erie, PA, develops and markets products that address key energy efficiency needs in the industrial metal heat-treating sector. Nationally, this sector spends about $2.5 billion/year on natural gas. Spinworks intends to expand the penetration of the SpyroCor product and introduce two additional products over the next three years.

Hydrogen and Fuel Gas Production: Virent Energy Systems, Inc.
CleanTech Partners provided a $250,000 line of credit in mid-2004 to Madison, Wisconsin-based Virent Energy Systems, Inc., to help commercialize its Aqueous Phase Reforming (APR) process, a carbon neutral method for on-demand production of hydrogen and fuel gas.  Virent combined the funding from CTP with the $2 million federal Advanced Technology Program (ATP) grant it had received from the National Institute of Standards and  Technology and a $300,000 Technology Development Fund loan from the Wisconsin Department of Commerce.

Virent’s patented APR process enables localized production of hydrogen using readily available sugar-based feedstocks, effectively eliminating hydrogen transport, storage and safety roadblocks that impede adoption of hydrogen-fueled power systems. With this proven process, Virent is positioning itself as the preferred source for cost-effective production of hydrogen and fuel gases for industrial, stationary and transportation applications.

Virent was founded in Wisconsin in 2002 using technology developed by Dr. Randy Cortright and Professor James Dumesic, and licensed from the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).

Wastewater Processing: BEMI, Inc.
CleanTech Partners provided BEMI, Inc with access to over $105,000 in debt financing in 2003 - 2004 to finalize the development of its innovative energy-saving waste-processing technology. The company used the loan to complete its patent application and conduct on-site testing at two locations. CTP also helped BEMI apply for and win a Wisconsin Department of Commerce Early Planning Grant and a Wisconsin DNR Technology Demonstration Grant. BEMI’s patented technology uses bioelectroionics to apply high frequency alternating current to reduce bacterial counts and BOD (Biochemical Oxygen Demand) loads in liquid waste streams with very low energy input. A 10% market penetration for this first technology application provides 400,000 therms of energy reduction per year.  BEMI repaid its loan from CTP and was recently purchased by BioIonix, Inc., which continues to develop and commercialize the technology.